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Wednesday, 28 Dec 2011, 22:18


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Weekly film review by: Vincent Camilleri 

Another mission not so impossible

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

Tom Cruise      Ethan Hunt
Jeremy Renner  William Brandt
Simon P         Benji Dunn
Paula Patton   Jane Carter
Michael Nyqvist   Kurt Hendricks
Lea Seydoux    Sabine Moreau

Directed by Brad Bird
Running time: 133 minutes

The fourth film in the Mission Impossible series opens in Budapest where a Mission Impossible Force (IMF) agent is murdered by a blonde young woman who makes off with his satchel. A change of scenery takes us to Moscow where IMF team leader Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), seems to be rotting in a prison cell. Not for long. A prison break is set in motion from a surveillance van parked in the neighbourhood where ace computer wizard Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) hacks into the prison security system, unlocks one cell to let a very surprised inmate sneak out. From his lap top, Pegg opens more cells, more hard nosed prisoners pour out from their cells to be met by the now fully alertedd security guards. Before you can say ‘riot’ there is such mayhem that Ethan and another IMF operative can escape practically unobserved assisted by IMF agent Jane Carter (Paula Patton).

This very fast and furious opening begins an action packed adventure that takes Ethan and his new specialist team from Budapest to Moscow to Dubai and Mumbai. After the prison break Ethan, Benji and Jane, all in disguise, make it to the Kremlin where they take more sophisticated hacking and breaking-in operations to trace the whereabouts of Kurt Hendricks a.k.a Cobalt. This Swedish born nuclear specialist, like all standard villains, wants to steal secret Cold War Russian codes to unleash a global nuclear war and rule the world. A massive explosion reduces the Kremlin to rubble seconds after Ethan had spotted his target Cobalt (Michael Nyqvist) leaving the building. The Russian security forces blame Ethan and the US for the terrorist attack on the Kremlin, an accusation that forces the IMF authorities to apply the Ghost Protocol disowning the agents .

Ethan is warned: “You guys don't exist, we don't exist and actually, if you're caught, we'll call you terrorists.” William Brandt, a former field agent joins Ethan’s team and the four set off on a manhunt for Hendricks that takes them to Dubai and Mumbai. They must find him and stop him before he puts his plans into action
There are no prizes for guessing the end of this predictable suspense-packed story. The enjoyment comes from sitting through 133 minutes filled with fantastic stunts, the clever use of disguises and amazing gadgets in action set-pieces filmed against spectacular, exotic scenery with a gripping sequence set in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, emerging as the highlight of this exciting film.

Trusted with a $140 million budget, twice Academy Award Winner for animated features The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007), director Brad Bird makes an impressive debut in live action movies with a very fast moving elegant film that reaches a well executed nail-biting climax. Tom Cruise just loves action movies – his last turn was “Knight and Day” with Cameron Diaz - and, very loyal to his Mission Impossible character Ethan Hunt, he invests more energy in each new instalment of this franchise since its beginning in in 1996. Jeremy Renner, Academy Award Best Actor nominee in 2010 for The Hurt Locker comes in with a solid performance as Brandt, the reluctant new addition to the team while Simon Pegg, already seen as Benji Dunn in Mission Impossible III reprises his character with more screen presence adding a bigger dose of comic relief.

Watch trailer:


Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Sigmund Freud, namely: who actually created the body of work credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when scandalous political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles lusting for the power of the throne were brought to light in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.

The Shakespeare authorship question is a debate that started over one hundred years ago surrounding the identity of the works traditionally attributed to the bearded Bard from Stratford-Upon-Avon, William Shakespeare. Was he really the genius behind Hamlet’s tragic life, Romeo’s burning love, and Lady Macbeth’s plaguing guilt? Could the intellectual behind literature’s most brilliant characters be this very ordinary man from Stratford?

So little is known about the man from Stratford that many find it impossible to believe that the son of an illiterate tradesman was the author of such literary masterpieces as “The Merchant of Venice,” “King Lear,” and “Henry V.” His education from a village school could never have provided Shakespeare with a vocabulary extensive enough to write the most talked about literature in the world and there is no proof that he travelled to foreign lands let alone learnt to speak their native tongues.

The only written documentation historians can ascribe to Shakespeare is several signatures on official documents with at least six different spellings (Shaksp, Shakspe, Shakesper, Shakespere, Shakspere and Shakspeare). Aside from the plays attributed to him, there are no manuscripts, letters, journals or poems accredited to Shakespeare, which is quite astonishing, considering this was his legacy. His death in 1616 was met with silence, unlike other celebrated writers of his time, and his illiterate wife and children were bequeathed only his “second best bed” – no money – and even more shockingly, his will mentions no books or manuscripts of any kind.

Columbia Pictures presents in association with Relativity Media a Centropolis Entertainment production in association with Studio Babelsberg, Anonymous. The film stars Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Xavier Samuel, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, Edward Hogg, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Derek Jacobi. Directed by Roland Emmerich. Produced by Roland Emmerich, Larry Franco, and Robert Léger. Written by John Orloff. Executive Producers are Volker Engel, Marc Weigert, and John Orloff.
(Columbia Pictures Production Notes)

Watch trailer

“Dream House”

Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens, upcoming The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Naomi Watts (The Ring, Fair Game) and Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener, The Lovely Bones) star in Dream House, a suspense thriller about a family that unknowingly moves into a home where grisly murders were committed…only to uncover even darker mysteries within its walls.

Successful publisher Will Atenton (Craig) quit a high-power job in Manhattan to relocate his wife, Libby (Weisz), and two girls to a quaint New England town. But as they settle into their new life, they discover their perfect home was the murder scene of a mother and her children. And the entire city believes it was at the hands of the husband who survived.

When Will investigates, he’s not sure if he’s starting to see ghosts or if the tragic story is just hitting too close to home. His only clues come from Ann Patterson (Watts), a mysterious neighbor who knew those who were lost. And as Will and Ann piece together the haunting puzzle, they must find out who murdered the family in Will’s dream house before he returns to kill again.

Academy Award®-nominated director Jim Sheridan (In America, In the Name of the Father) helms Dream House from a screenplay by David Loucka (upcoming House at the End of the Street).

Watch trailer:

(Universal Pictures Production Notes)

Top Ten Films in Malta
21 - 25 December 2011


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